Blog

Captivate.fm Podcast Host: Review & Walkthrough

Captivate.fm Podcast Host: Review & Walkthrough

If you’ve been looking for a streamlined and organized podcast management tool, Captivate.fm could be the solution. From Captivate’s dashboard, you can coordinate guests, gather all your research, and manage your marketing resources.  Captivate’s innovative tools all aim to enhance, simplify and streamline the podcasting process, and all their subscription packages are crammed with the essential tools that every creator needs. This Captivate.fm review and walkthrough gives you an in-depth look at the platform and its key features, we show you its strengths and weaknesses, and guide you through how to use its dashboard. Let’s get started. 

TL:DR 

  • Captivate.fm is a podcast host and management tool. 
  • You can’t monetize with Captivate, but you get access to strong promotion and marketing tools. 
  • Production management is centralized from your Captivate dashboard including ideation, research, scheduling guests and marketing your show. 
  • You get unlimited podcasts, hosting and team members with every subscription. 
  • Best for podcasters seeking a combined host and management platform. 

How we’re reviewing Captivate 

We’re reviewing Captivate according to seven key criteria that we think are essential for a strong podcast hosting platform: 

Pricing 

All podcasters will stop and think about how much a service costs at some point in the decision process. And the same goes when choosing a hosting platform. We look at the different pricing tiers on offer and what kinds of features are included in each. The name of the game is value for money. 

Analytics 

Podcast hosting platforms should offer their users ample and in-depth performance and engagement analytics. We look at how detailed the metrics are and whether they’re easy to navigate and use. 

Media Player 

We look for embeddable media players that offer users customizability and ease of use. Extra points for when a media player allows podcasters to choose whether they include single episodes or a whole series and for any additional features such as subscribe buttons or social sharing. 

File Hosting 

The highest audio quality comes from lossless file formats. That’s why we look for platforms that support WAV or other lossless file formats instead of converting your media files. 

Additionally, we look for podcast hosts that are compatible with both audio and video, so that creators have the choice about the kind of podcast they create. 

Distribution 

Podcast distribution should be straightforward, quick, and ideally, automated. Your podcast host should make it as easy as possible to submit your show to major directories and ensure that your episodes appear as soon as you publish. 

Monetization 

As the podcasting industry grows, we think podcast hosting platforms should help their podcasters to leverage their content and maximize their potential revenue. We look for platforms that make it easy to monetize and to manage different revenue streams. In an ideal world, monetization will be an integrated feature of the podcast hosting platform, giving podcasters the choice of whether to opt in or not. 

Useability and Additional Features 

A podcast host should fundamentally be usable and easy to interact with. We value clear and sleek interfaces that aren’t weighed down by outdated design or functionality. Additionally, we like platforms that are always proactively adding to their features and responding to changes in podcasting and creators’ needs. 

Captivate: Quick Takeaways 

Quick summary: Captivate is a podcast hosting and management platform. Its range of features support podcasters in the creation, planning and post-publication phases of the production process. 

Price: Captivate.fm starts at $17 / month 

Captivate USPs:

  • Unlimited podcasts, unlimited storage, unlimited team members. 
  • In-built podcast marketing suite. Generate an automatic sponsor kit to present to potential partners. 
  • Management tools. Useful and easy-to-use planning and podcast management tools that streamline the whole production process. 

What is Captivate? 

Captivate was created by podcasters for podcasters. It brands itself as a host that grows with your podcast and now hosts over 14,000 podcasts. Though it doesn’t offer any creation capabilities, users gain access to a full suite of features that help to accelerate growth and strengthen your promotion and marketing of your podcast. All users, regardless of their subscription plan, get access to all features and unlimited podcasts, storage and users. 

How much does Captivate cost?

Captivate has three pricing tiers:  

Personal - $17/month (billed annually) 

  • 12,000 downloads per month 
  • Private podcasting - 1 podcast - 150 suscribers
  • Unlimited podcasts 
  • Unlimited storage
  • Smart speaker - flash briefing feed
  • Transcription support
  • Dedicated online support 
  • Unique listener data 
  • Geographic analytics 
  • Episode performance comparison 
  • Analytics averages snapshot 
  • 1 private podcast - for up to 150 subscribers 
  • Embeddable website player / social player / playlist player 
  • Automatic podcast website 
  • Unlimited team members / collaborators 
  • 3 networked podcasts

Professional - $44 / month 

All of the above 

  • 60,000 downloads a month 
  • Private podcasting - 2 podcasts- 1000 suscribers
  • 6 networked podcasts

Business - $90/month 

All of the above 

  • 150,000 downloads per month 
  • Private podcasting - 3 podcasts - 5000 subscribers total 
  • Create your own podcast network with unlimited networked podcasts 
  • Host client podcasts 

What’s the catch with Captivate? 

One thing you’ve got to watch is that although you get unlimited podcasts, hosting and team members, you pay for your downloads allowance. The basic subscription of $17 per month gives you up to 12,000 downloads. If your podcast grows faster than you expected, you may have to budget for an unexpected subscription upgrade. 

Advantages of Captivate 

Unlimited Podcasts, Unlimited Hosting, Unlimited Team Members 

Captivate offers unlimited podcasts, hosting and team members to all its subscription tiers. There are no limits on storage or uploads, and you can host multiple shows under one account. Watch out though, you pay for downloads. 

Collaborative working 

As above, you’re allowed unlimited team members with your Captivate subscription. Once you create your Captivate account, you can add your colleagues, setting relevant permissions and access levels. 

Create podcast network 

If you’re looking to grow and diversify, you can create an entire podcast network right from your Captivate dashboard for no additional cost. 

Single-click submission 

For platforms that support it, Captivate offers single-click submission. So you can avoid the lengthy submission forms and save yourself time. 

Easy to understand stats 

Captivate offers podcasters in-depth but digestible stats about their podcast’s performance, their listeners’ profiles and more. All instantly accessible from your Captivate.fm dashboard. 

Embeddable media player 

All Captivate users get an embeddable (and customizable) media player with optional buttons and links that help you to further promote your podcast. 

Podcast website 

Captivate subscriptions include a code-free podcast website which you can customize and make your own to really promote your podcast. 

Streamlined planning & management 

One of Captivate’s main aims is to streamline and enhance the management side of podcasting. Their guest booking and management platform helps you to schedule podcast participants, whilst their episode idea notes help you to collate all your disparate show concepts and keep track of them. 

Disadvantages of Captivate

No recording capabilities 

Although this is probably more of a concern for beginner podcasters, anyone looking for an all-in-one podcasting solution might be disappointed by the lack of creation capabilities. That being said, Captivate is fully integrated with Descript, so you can record with them and export your episodes directly. 

No monetization 

Although Captivate does offer Dynamic Ad Insertion technology, you need to have externally secured an advertising deal and recorded the media. Once you upload it into Captivate, it will dynamically insert it into your back catalog and future episodes. However, you cannot monetize directly through Captivate.  

Lossy file formats 

Though Captivate doesn’t modify your audio files, it does require you to upload in MP3 format. 

No video podcasts

Unfortunately, Captivate doesn’t support video podcasts. 

You pay for downloads 

Unlike a lot of other platforms, Captivate offers all users unlimited podcasts and unlimited hosting, but makes them pay for downloads. For scaling podcasts who still have a smaller budget, this might represent a significant budget increase. 

Key features of Captivate 

Automated Dynamic Show Notes Builder 

Though not all podcasters realize this, creating show notes is super important. Show notes help contextualize your content, give added value to your reader and help with SEO

That being said, it can be a hassle and extra effort. Captivate has created an automated dynamic show notes builder that ‘does the heavy lifting for you’. Captivate’s advanced ‘blocks’ and ‘shortcodes’, mean you can write essential ‘boiler plate’ information that’ll be included in every single show note and this will be populated (updated or added in) in every single episode automatically. 

Sponsorkit 

Captivate has created a way to quickly and easily produce a deck about your show to present to potential podcast sponsors. All you need to do is head to the Promotion section on your Captivate dashboard, click Sponsor Kit, make sure your Audience Avatar is up to date and then generate your PDF. 

An audience avatar is essentially a profile of your audience that can demonstrate to a potential sponsor how your listeners align with their target demographics. 

Guest Booking & Interview Management Platform 

Captivate users can create their own guest booking calendar and booking URL to organize and schedule external podcast participants. 

You can toggle your availability, set your time zone, and block out certain dates if you’re taking holiday. You can also customize the time slots to reflect how long a podcast recording session might last. There’s also a built-in rescheduling and cancellation process, so you don’t need to worry about sending follow ups or manually rescheduling. 

Podcast website

Your Captivate podcast website is simple and emphatically no-code - perfect for podcasters who have no background in website coding or design. You can play around with your website design, colors, fonts and more. And you can choose between three responsive templates. Additionally, you can choose to use the Captivate WordPress plugin - Captivate sync. 

Free WordPress Plugin - Captivate Sync 

Captive Sync links your WordPress website to your Captivate account, with seamless integration to your dashboard. 

Research links

Captivate’s research link chrome extension makes your life easier when you’re putting together an episode concept. You can add relevant links as you browse rather than navigating back to your Captivate dashboard or saving it as a bookmark. 

This tool also helps you to add more value to your show notes, enriching your listeners’ experience with additional resources. 

Captivate Player 

The Captivate player translates well into websites and social media platforms. You can decide whether your player plays a specific episode, your latest episode, or a playlist. It comes packed with loads of optional features that you can choose from: 

  • Share button 
  • Download button (allows your listeners to download the audio) 
  • Show notes
  • Episode transcript 
  • Follow podcast button 
  • Call To Action buttons 
  • Donation button 
  • Skip and volume controls 

Your Captivate player is also customizable. You can choose between the dark or light theme, or choose to change the color completely. You can also toggle how much Captivate branding you want. 

Captivate Growth Labs 

Captivate has created a learning hub and podcasting community through its Growth Labs. All Captivate users get access to resources, events, and the ability to share feedback with other podcasters. 

Clickable time stamps 

Captivate has ‘clickable timestamps’ that make it even easier for your audience to interact with and navigate your audio. You can do this when publishing a new episode or retrospectively on content from your back catalog - simply write the timestamps into your show notes. 

If a listener clicks on one of these timestamps, they’ll automatically start listening from that moment onwards on your Captivate podcast player.

Episode Idea Recording Notes 

Episode planning feature right in your Captivate dashboard - you’ll find it in your Research and Planning tab. You can note down the title of your episode idea, add a summary if you want, and invite any guests to the note. This feature makes it easier to note down your ideas, and is a great way to create a kind of ‘crib sheet’ for you and your guests when it comes to recording.

AMIE dynamic content 

AMIE is Captivate’s Audio Monetisation and Integration Engine which dynamically inserts audio into your back catalog and new content. The so-called ‘ad painter’ allows you to even replace baked-in ads in previous episodes.

Private podcasts 

You can create a private podcast for your paying subscribers or for other purposes. The creation process is exactly the same as creating a public podcast. 

Marketing Links 

As the name suggests, the marketing links page is a centralized way to manage all your relevant promotional and marketing links. 

Put all relevant directory links here which will populate your Single Promo Link, Captivate Site and Subscribe button on your media player. 

Adding your links here isn’t just a question of convenience, it means that Captivate can monitor traffic on those links and give you real insights about clicks, conversions and more. 

Captivate collections 

Captivate’s collections feature is essentially a way that podcasters can create curated playlists for their listeners. You can even load your embeddable media player with your collections. This is a great way to offer added value to your listeners, and reinject your back catalog with new relevance. Captivate also suggests using this tool to create a revenue stream by designing courses that you can sell to your listeners. 

Captivate is best for Podcasters looking for a host & management tool in one 

When it comes to organization and management, Captivate is one step ahead. Their various organizational tools such as the Research links, Guest Scheduling and Management, and Automated Show Notes producer are undeniably useful, helping to streamline what can otherwise be quite a hectic process. 

First look at Captivate Dashboard 

Your podcast dashboard is an ‘evolving overview of the most relevant ‘quick-hit’ information that you need as a creator’ according to Captivate. As soon as you log in you can see: 

  • Unique listeners
  • Downloads averages
  • Latest episodes
  • Upcoming episodes 

On the left of your screen, you can navigate between tabs such as content management and promotion. 

You can watch this video for a visual sneak peak of the Captivate dashboard.

How to Get Started with Captivate

Step 1: Login and head to ‘My Podcasts’. Click ‘Create New Podcast’. Or, if you’ve just created your account: click ‘create new podcast’ on the welcome page. 

Step 2: Name your new show, write a short description and fill out all the other relevant fields. 

Step 3: At this point also decide whether it will be a private or public podcast.

Filling in podcast details on Captivate.fm

Step 4: Upload your podcast cover art 

Adding podcast cover art on Captivate.fm

Step 5: Fill out the description and categories 

Step 6: Ensure your directory settings are correct

Podcast directory settings on Captivate.fm

Step 7: Finally, confirm your feed and create your podcast. 

How to Migrate your Podcast to Captivate

Step 1: Login and hit ‘Import your podcast’ 

Step 2: Copy and paste your existing RSS feed and choose your current podcast host 

Step 3: Verify that the data that shows up is correct (that the RSS feed is pulling up your podcast) 

Step 4: Check your feed settings. Here you can check your podcast’s description, copyright and categories.

Step 5: Click on ‘Set up feed URL’ and Captivate will automatically create a feed URL for you based on your Podcast’s title. You can adjust this as you want.

Step 6: When you’re happy, click ‘Import my Podcast’

Step 7: Don’t forget to set up a 301 redirect as well 

You can watch Captivate’s tutorial below if you’d like to view the process.

How to distribute your podcast using Captivate 

From Captivate’s distribution center, you can quickly and easily submit your podcast to most major directories. For those that support it, Captivate has ‘one-click submission’ that simplifies the process even more. For any platforms that don’t, unfortunately, you’ll still need to go through the regular submission process. If you click ‘start submission’ in the distribution center, you’ll be redirected automatically to the relevant submission link. 

Also, you can keep track of your submission status to the different directories. For those that you’ve been approved by, you’ll see ‘podcast approved’, for those still pending ‘awaiting approval’, and those you haven’t applied to yet ‘start submission’. 

Podcast distribution settings on Captivate.fm

How to monetize your podcast using Captivate 

Unfortunately you can’t monetize your podcast using any of Captivate’s native features. However, they do have a few tools that help you to monetize in other ways. For example, their promotion section and sponsor kit help you to pitch as strongly as possible to potential partners. Plus, the ability to include CTAs and links to donation links like Patreon and PayPal in your embeddable players supports you in converting listeners into paying supporters. 

Captivate Podcast Analytics 

Captivate’s podcast analytics aim to be as easy to understand as possible, so that you can draw the most value out of your podcast data. From your dashboard, navigate to Analytics on the left hand panel. 

On your Analytics page you’ll be able to see: 

  • Download totals / overview / today / yesterday etc. 
  • Download averages 
  • Trending episodes 
  • Month to Month 
  • Listener behavior 
  • Listen link tracking 
  • Unique listeners
  • Listener demographics
  • Web traffic stats and more 

Captivate.fm alternatives

If you’re struggling to decide whether Captivate.fm is right for you, it might help to compare it against other hosting platforms:

Anchor vs Captivate

Anchor is aimed at all podcasters and caters to every stage of the podcasting journey: recording, editing, publication, monetization and management. And it offers all its services for free. By contrast, Captivate is paid and focuses on management and hosting. 

However, with Captivate, you’re not limited on how many podcasts you can host (you can even create a network if you want to) and you get a customizable website. When weighing up between these two platforms, the decision comes down to budget and what you’re really looking for. 

Buzzsprout vs Captivate 

Buzzsprout is a well-established name in the podcast world and is known for its dependable platform, good prices and simple, but essential tools. Though Buzzsprout has a free plan, this only comes with 2 hours of monthly uploads and a cap of 90 days hosting. Even the most affordable plan only gives you 3 hours of monthly uploads, which, when compared to Captivate’s basic $17/month plan with unlimited podcasts and hosting, seems a little restrictive. 

Soundcloud vs Captivate

Although Soundcloud is a big name, it’s not designed just for podcasters which makes a huge difference when it comes to useability and functionality. Captivate on the other hand is made by and for podcasters, which is obvious in the types of tools they offer their users. 

Podbean vs Captivate 

The biggest point of comparison between Podbean and Captivate is the monetization capabilities. With Podbean you can monetize by making use of their Ads Marketplace combined with their Dynamic Ad Insertion technology. Captivate doesn’t have any type of monetization tools on offer. Plus, on a budgeting level, Podbean also wins out because for only $9/month, users get unlimited storage and bandwidth, as well as a podcast website, analytics and monetization. 

Final thoughts on Captivate 

As far as podcast hosting platforms go, Captivate has a strong offering. The fact that even the most basic subscription plan gets unlimited podcasts, hosting and team members is a real plus (although the download cap might pose a challenge). Additionally, the management and organization tools are clearly designed with a familiarity of what podcasting actually involves. That being said, with no integrated monetization tools, podcasters who are on a steady growth trajectory may want to look for a platform that offers them the whole package. 

FAQs about Captivate 

What is Captivate.fm? 

Captivate.fm is a podcast host and management platform that’s dedicated to giving its users the ‘freedom and flexibility to make podcasting theirs.’ You can distribute, manage, promote, and monitor your podcast straight from your dashboard. 

Is Captive podcast free? 

No, Captive’s most affordable subscription is $17/month. 

Is Captivate a good podcast host? 

It depends what you’re looking for in a podcast host. If you’re in need of creation tools or integrated monetization, it’s probably not the one for you. But if you’ve been searching for a comprehensive organizational and management tool then you’re in the right place. 

Can you monetize with Captivate? 

You can’t monetize directly with Captivate, but the platform does offer a few tools that work well if you’ve already got monetization sorted elsewhere. For example, if you’ve got Patreon subscribers, you can create a private podcast for your paying listeners using Captivate. 

Does Captivate upload to Spotify? 

Yes, Captivate uploads to all major listening platforms and directories, including Spotify

Want to read more on podcast hosting platforms? Check out our other reviews:

Subscribe to our newsletter

Highly curated content, case studies, Riverside updates, and more.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Related articles

10

min read

Rodecaster Pro Review: All-in-One Podcast Mixer Key Features

Riverside.fm is an audio-video tool that collapses the pod/broadcast studio experience into your browser. The service captures lossless audio and up to 4K video locally, syncs it, and uploads as you go.

8

min read

Lossy vs Lossless Audio Formats: How to Choose the Right One?

Riverside.fm is an audio-video tool that collapses the pod/broadcast studio experience into your browser. The service captures lossless audio and up to 4K video locally, syncs it, and uploads as you go.

13

min read

Patreon Podcasts: How to Monetize & Top Patreon Podcasts 2022

Riverside.fm is an audio-video tool that collapses the pod/broadcast studio experience into your browser. The service captures lossless audio and up to 4K video locally, syncs it, and uploads as you go.